Forearm kinematics and interosseous membrane function in chronic radial head dislocations sustained in childhood are unknown. Several procedures have been performed to reduce the radial head on the basis of static preoperative assessment in only one forearm position, but clinical results are not always favorable.
We investigated the in vivo three-dimensional (3D) kinematics and length changes of interosseous membrane ligaments during forearm rotation in chronic radial head dislocations using 3D CT registration techniques.
We examined 10 patients with chronic radial head dislocations (seven Type 1 and three Type 4 Monteggia lesions). To quantify kinematics, the axis of rotation (AOR) and radial head motion were investigated using computer bone models constructed from CT data placing the forearm in three positions. We also created six interosseous membrane ligaments and calculated their 3D lengths during forearm rotation.
In Type 1 lesions, the AOR was located 2.4 mm from the center of the radial head (COR). The COR translated 2.8 mm sagittally and 3.4 mm coronally. Three interosseous membrane ligaments showed little change in length. In Type 4 lesions, the AOR was located 6.2 mm from the COR. The COR translated 10.2 mm sagittally and 4.7 mm coronally. No ligament showed an isometric pattern.
In Type 1 lesions, the radial head showed relatively stable motion in the dislocated position and the isometricity of the interosseous membrane remained, which supports the concept of ulnar osteotomy. Conversely, the radial head was unstable and the normal interosseous membrane ligament tautness pattern was disrupted in Type 4 lesions.
Level of Evidence
Level IV, diagnostic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.